• Name: Aleksi Saarela
  • Position: C/LW
  • Age: 19
  • Height: 5’10”
  • Weight: 194lbs
  • Shoots: Left
  • Current Team: Ässät Pori (SM-Liiga)
  • Contract Status: No NHL Contract / Current Finish League contract expires at the end of the current season

Here are notes on Aleksi Saarela from various scouting reports leading upto the 2015 NHL Draft:

“Very slick Centreman… Offensively gifted… Very strong despite his size… Relatively responsible… Got better as year progressed”

North American Central Scouting

A dangerous offensive forward that creates energy through scoring chances. Possesses good hockey sense as well as good hands and stickhandling ability. A smooth and speedy skater who has a lot of jump in his step. Not very large in stature; however, his diminutive size doesn’t deter his scoring prowess, and that is what he will have to rely upon to be successful.

Curtis Joe, Elite Prospects

A highly skilled but inconsistent and injury-prone offensive forward. He is an explosive skater. Impressive top speed to create separation and does not slowdown in possession. Good movement in tight spaces too–really elusive. He gets an accurate and fast slapshot away quickly. Has impressive senses and sees the ice very well. A deadly transition player, Saarela can slickly pickpocket the puck in the neutral zone or offensive zone and then make deadly accurate quick-strike passes to his open teammates for an instant offensive chance. Displays good stickhandling with lots of agility to beat defenders one-on-one. Strong on face-offs when called upon as well. He plays OK defensively, as in his positioning is correct but needs to play that side of the puck with more jam and intensity. Good accurate passes on the powerplay and nice vision, trying to find the passing seams. Likes to control the puck and be the offensive catalyst. Finds the pucks really well in crowded areas and asserts himself with his low center of gravity along the wall. Has the ability to use his frame to play with some physicality but does not do so consistently. He has some durability issues as he has been injured multiple times over the past three seasons. NHL POTENTIAL: Top-Six Offensive Winger.

Future Considerations

ALEKSI SAARELA has conjured up every type of description known to man scouting prospects so far and kind of unfairly. He has already been labeled injury prone, past his peak, a faller, and now a riser? Bluntly, he has been the same player since day 1 – a very skilled forward who dealt with some tough environments, but never lost his skill and maturity to execute vs. men. All it took was one play last year in the U18 to show how dynamic he was showcasing pure speed, body control to jump around his check, and finish for the highlight reel goal. Playing a full year in Liiga, just like Mikko Rantanen, he had an okay year production wise that he put an exclamation on with 8PTS in 7GP at the U18 in April. A fast skater, with twofold aptitude to playmake or finish, he showed plus faceoff ability at the U18 with 54% at the dot. Coming up clutch on a solo fast break OT scoring rush to send Team Finland to the gold medal game was a fantastic moment for a kid who needed it. He plays hard, and is good defensively, leaving him with no major flaws other than being rough around the edges. His skating and shooting can be refined over time. Saarela is now a Finnish undercard who could gain a lot by making the jump to NA and begin writing his future under NHL eyes.

Anthony Mauro, DraftBuzz Hockey

Skill: Talented offensive forward who possesses dangerous tendencies on the puck.

Scouting Report: The once highly touted Saarela had begun to find his game in the latter stages of this season with Assat in SM-Liiga and with Finland at the 2015 U18 World Championships. He is a small, bullish forward who shows surprising strength on his skates for his size with a powerful lower body. Dynamic offensive ability and shows a variety of weapons to make defenders and goalies look silly – strong puck presence, hard to knock off stride while having quick and slick hands to stickhandle his way into high threat scoring areas. Passion, determination game in, game out have been area to focus on in terms of consistency and bringing together a stronger 200ft game.

NHL Potential: 2nd-3rd line depth scoring forward who brings flashes of flair on the puck.

ISS Hockey

“Despite his clear lack of size I was very intrigued with his strength on his skates and ability to drive and protect the puck down the wing. Vision on the puck is very good.”

ISS Scout S. Cocker

“Has always been good in offensive way, but this season he has improved his own zone game a lot. Reads the play well, kills penalties, covers his point man well, but doesn’t like to block the shots. Speed is an asset, strong on his skates. Has a good scoring touch, accurate shot, good hands, knows where his linemates are.”

ISS Scout H. Hepojarvi

Prospect reports for Feb. 23 – 29, 2016

2015 Draft Picks:

Sebastian Aho, 2nd Round (#35 overall)

  • Last week: 2GP – 1G-0A-1PT, 0 PIM, 15 SOG, 6.6% shooting
  • Kärpät went 1-1; Aho scored the lone goal in the team’s only win.
  • Currently wearing the Golden Helmet for Kärpät as the team’s leading scorer.
  • This Season: 41GP – 17G-20A-37PTS, 2 PIM, 158 SOG, 10.7% shooting (Liiga)
    11GP – 3G-6A-9PTS, 6 PIM, 21 SOG, 14.2% shooting (CHL), 7GP – 4AG-8A-12PTS, 4 PIM, 16 SOG, 31.2% shooting (WJHC), 2GP – 1G-1A-2PTS, 2 PIM, (Euro Hockey Tour)
  • Next Game: Wednesday, March 2, 2016 at Tappara Tampere

Aleksi Saarela, 3rd Round (#89 overall)

  • Last Week: 3GP – 1G-1A-2PTS, 0 PIM, 31 SOG, 3.2% shooting
  • Saarela’s contractual rights were acquired by the Hurricanes in the trade with the N.Y. Rangers for Eric Staal.
  • Ässät Pori went 0-3.
  • This Season: 46GP – 18G-13A-31PTS, 14PIM, 243 SOG, 7.4% shooting (Liiga); 7GP – 4G-3A-7PTS, 4 PIM (Finland – WJHC)
  • Next Game: Tuesday, March 1, 2016 vs. SaiPa Lappeenranta

Callum Booth, 4th Round (#93 overall)

  • Last Week: 2GP (2 Start) – 1W-0L, 1.00%, 0.85GAA, 1 SO
  • Québec Remparts went 1-1 in Booth’s two starts.
  • Booth left his second start on Sunday 11 minutes into the games with a left leg injury. No official word from the team on the severity yet.
  • This Season: 39GP (39 Starts) – 16W-17L-3OTL, .902%, 3.15 GAA, 3 SO
  • Next Game: Friday, March 4, 2016 at Blainville-Boisbriand, Armada

Nicolas Roy, 4th Round (#96 overall)

  • Last Week: 3GP – 3G-1A-4PTS, 2 PIM, 11 SOG, 27.2% shooting, 59.1% Faceoffs
  • Chicoutimi Seguenees went 1-2; Roy recorded points in all three games.
  • Roy hit 40-goals, becoming the first player for Chicoutimi to reach that mark since 2007-08.
  • This Season: 54GP – 40G-38A-78PTS, 61 PIM, 219 shots, 18.3% shooting, 60.7% Faceoffs
  • Next Game: Tuesday, March 1, 2016 vs. Québec, Remparts

Spencer Smallman, 5th Round (#138 overall)

  • Last Week: 2GP – 0G-4A-4PTS, 0 PIM, 3 SOG, 0.0% shooting
  • Saint John Sea Dogs went 2-0, 1-0 when Smallman recorded a point.
  • Smallman’s 4-assist game was a careers high for assists and points in a game.
  • This Season: 49GP – 17G-24A-41PTS, 49 PIM, 105 SOG, 16.2% shooting
  • Next Game: Thursday, March 3, 2016 vs. Drummondville, Voltigeurs

Luke Stevens, 5th Round (#126 overall)

  • Last Week: 2GP – 5G-1A-6PTS
  • This Season: 27GP – 24G-31A-55PTS
  • Stevens and Noble & Greenough play their final regular season game on Saturday.
  • Next Game: Wednesday, March 2, 2016 vs. Cushing Academy (NEPSAC Large Tournament)

David Cotton, 6th Round (#169 overall)

  • Last Week: 3GP – 1G-1A-2PTS, 0 PIM, 8 SOG, 12.5% shooting
  • Waterloo Black Hawks went 2-1, 1-0 when Cotton recorded a point.
  • Cotton returend to the lineup after missing two games last weekend.
  • This Season: 43GP – 15G-13A-28PTS, 30 PIM, 114 shots, 13.1% shooting
  • Next Game: Saturday, March 5, 2016 at Omaha Lancers

Steven Lorentz, 7th Round (#186 overall)

  • Last Week: 2GP – 0G-2A-2PTS, 5 PIM, 5 SOG, 0.0% shooting
  • Peterborough Petes went 0-2 with Lorentz in the lineup.
  • Lorentz returned from suspension on Saturday. Peterborough Petes went 6-4 with Lorentz out of the lineup.
  • This Season: 48GP – 20G-21A-41PTS, 22 PIM, 134 SOG, 14.9% shooting
  • Next Game: Thursday, March 3, 2016 vs. Hamilton Bulldogs

2014 Draft Picks:

Haydn Fleury, 1st Round (#7 overall)

  • Last Week: 3GP – 1G-1A-2PTS, 2 PIM
  • Red Deer Rebels went 1-1, 1-0 when Fleury records a point.
  • This Season: 48GP – 10G-25A-35PTS, 41PIM
  • Next Game: Friday, March 4, 2016 vs. Calgary Hitmen

Alex Nedeljkovic, 2nd Round (#37 overall)

  • Last Two Week: 3GP (3 Start) – 1W-5L, 2.35 GAA, .920%, 1 SO
  • This Season: 22GP (22 Starts) – 10W-11L-0OTL-1SOL, 2.57GAA, .909% (NIA)
    19GP (19 Starts) – 9W-7L-1OTL-1SOL, 3.21 GAA, .907%, 1 SO (Flint)
    39GP (38 starts) 19W-18L-1OTL-2SOL, 2.86 GAA, .908% (OHL Totals), 2 SO, 6GP (6 Starts) – 4W-2L, 1.66 GAA, .942%, 1 SO (WJHC)
  • Next Game: Friday, March 4, 2016 vs. Barrie Colts

Roland McKeown, 2nd Round (#50 overall)

  • Last Week: 3GP – 0G-1A-1PT, 4 PIM, 6 SOG, 0.0% shooting
  • Kingston Frontenacs went 3-0.
  • This Season: 51GP – 6G-33A-39PTS, 43 PIM, 139 shots, 4.3% shooting
  • Next Game: Friday, March 4, 2016 at Saginaw Spirit

Warren Foegele, 3rd Round (#67 overall)

  • Last Week: 3GP – 1G-1A-2PTS, 2 PIM, 15 SOG, 6.6% shooting
  • Kingston Frontenacs went 3-0.
  • This Season: 45GP – 10G-33A-43PTS, 40 PIM, 118 shots, 8.4% shooting (OHL)
    5GP – 0G-1A-1PT, 6 PIM, 8 shots, 0% shooting (NCAA)
  • Next Game: Friday, March 4, 2016 at Saginaw Spirit

Josh Wesley, 4th Round (#96 overall)

  • Wesley was suspened 8 Games for a hit to the head of Ottawa 67’s Connor Warnholtz on 2/22. He has served 3 games of the suspension, and is eligible to return on March 13.
  • This Season: 29GP – 3G-4A-7PTS, 12 PIM, 41 shots, 7.3% shooting (NIA)
    24GP – 2G-10A-12PTS, 21PIM, 49 Shots, 4.0% shooting (Flint)
    63GP – 5G-14A-19PTS, 33 PIM, 90 shots, 5.5% shooting (OHL Total)
  • Next Game: Saturday, March 13, 2016 at Hamilton Bulldogs

Lucas Wallmark, 4th Round (#97 overall)

  • Last Week: 3GP – 1G-0A-1PT, 0 PIM
  • This Season: 44GP – 8G-28A-27PTS, 20 PIM (SHL), 5GP – 0G-0A-0PTS, 4 PIM (CHL), 5P – 1G-0A-1PT, 2 PIM (Euro Hockey Tour)
  • Next Game: Tuesday, March 1, 2016 at Frölunda HC

Clark Bishop, 5th Round (#127 overall)

  • Last Week: 3GP – 0G-0A-0PTS, 2 PIM, 7 SOG, 0.0% shooting
  • Cape Breton Screaming Eagles went 1-2.
  • This Season: 45GP – 14G-19A-33PTS, 75 PIM, 97 shots, 14.4% shooting, 51.3% faceoffs
  • Next Game: Saturday, March 5, 2016 vs. Halifax, Mooseheads

Kyle Jenkins, 7th Round (#187 overall)

  • Last Week: 3GP – 0G-1A-1PT, 2 PIM, 5 shots, 0.0% shooting.
  • Peterborough Petes went 0-3.
  • This Season: 54GP – 2G-26A-28PTS, 28 PIM, 115 shots, 1.7% shooting
  • Next Game: Thursday, March 3, 2016 vs. Hamilton Bulldogs

No 2013 Draft Picks

2012 Draft Picks:

Collin Olson, 6th Round (#159 overall)

  • Olson’s last appearance for Western Michigan was on January 8 when he allowed 3 goals in 8 minutes of relief against Notre Dame.
  • This Season: 9GP (7 start) – 2W-5L, 4.15 GAA, .877%

Brendan Collier, 7th Round (#189 overall)

  • Last Week: 2GP – 0G-1A-1PT, 0 PIM, 0 SOG, 0.0% shooting
  • Northeastern went 2-0 last week.
  • This Season: 33GP – 3G-9A-12PTS, 10 PIM, 25 SOG, 12.0% shooting
  • Next Game: Friday, March 4, 2016 vs. Univ. of Maine (Hockey East Opening Playoff Round)

2011 Draft Picks:

Gr&eactue;gory Hofmann, 4th Round (#103 overall)

  • This Season: 46GP – 17G-14A-31PTS, 47 PIM
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